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If Facebook and Google limit services in Australia, could ABC run a social network? | Australia News




A state-funded and CBA-run social network has been proposed as a possible response if Facebook and Google restrict services in Australia when the mandatory information code goes into effect this year.

Facebook has warned it will prevent Australians from sharing news if the landmark plan to charge digital platforms for news content becomes law.

Google has launched a public campaign against the code and launched a international campaign targeting YouTube users when the government announced it would require the company to pay news publishers for the content.

Google’s public campaign included videos using a comedian in an attempt to simplify issues.

The proposal for a platform hosted by ABC is one of a series of risk mitigation proposals in a report commissioned by the Center for Responsible Technology, Tech-Xit: Can Australia Survive Without Google and Facebook?

The proposed platform would connect the community without collecting data like Google and Facebook do, and could build on the broad reach of ABC in local, regional and national communities, as well as the trust that the public has. invested in the institution.

An ABC platform that engages the community, allows for genuine exchange and influence in decision-making, and the application of the principles of independent journalism and storytelling would provide real value to local communities deprived of civic engagement, the report said. report.

[We should] develop viable alternatives to Google and Facebook, such as the national online social platform hosted by ABC. This could build on ABC’s existing digital capabilities and on projects such as Australia Talks, ABC Open and Triple J Unearthed.

The government has been urged to urgently draft stricter consumer data protection law before Facebook’s likely removal of functions and the less likely scenario of Google’s removal of Google Search from the country, according to the report. center associate, Jordan Guiao.

If Facebook refused to allow Australians to share news, the site would be inundated with misinformation and fake news, the report warns.

To prepare consumers for the impact of cutting services provided by powerful foreign tech companies, the government should invest heavily in Australian tech and startups, the report says.

Despite the known harms and widespread disinformation, Facebook’s clinging and network effect creates an environment that many users would find it difficult to let go of, the report says. A reduction or removal of Facebook services would therefore likely have a negative impact on Australians, as they would lose their connections and the content vault they have invested in the platform. This addiction is a risk for Australians if Facebook follows through on the removal of their services.

The mandatory news code has been backed by all the major media companies, including News Corp Australia, Nine Entertainment and Guardian Australia, to offset the damage caused by lost ad revenue for Facebook and Google.

The report argues that the arrival of the mandatory information code is a chance to push back the imperatives of profit or oversight of tech giants and seek alternatives.

Google and Facebook’s response to the ACCC’s mandatory news code underscored our excessive national dependence on them, said Australian Institutes Center for Responsible Technology director Peter Lewis.

This analysis shows that two global companies that play a dominant role in our civic and business institutions are ready to threaten to withdraw these services to protect their own business interests.

Australian governments are trying to curb Google’s market dominance and Facebook is one of many similar moves around the world, including a lawsuit in France, an antitrust lawsuit against Google in the United States and the possibility of another in China.

Google and Facebook have become such a dominant part of our online experience that it’s hard to imagine the Internet without the two tech giants, the report says. For many Australians, Google and Facebook are virtually synonymous with the Internet.

The report also calls for a forensic investigation into how tech companies like Google have become all-powerful in key public sectors including education, healthcare, and government administration.

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